According to the latest studies, one out of three seniors will fall in the span of one year, but only half of them will end up talking with their doctors about the incident. Falls are the primary cause of injuries for the elderly, and they can result in cuts, hip fractures, and even more serious injuries to the head or brain which can be fatal.
Even if you don’t end up injuring yourself, a fall can be extremely frightening for seniors which is why it is paramount to avoid certain activities and to make the home a safe place where chances of falling are close to none. In the list below, we will present you with some tips and advice to help prevent falls at home.
Remove any clutter
The walkways in your home should always be clean of anything that you can trip over such as phone cords, electric wires, newspapers, and magazines, or pet bowls, and many other items that can cause trouble. Coil telephone and electrical cables, in particular, are a huge problem and you should make sure that they are always next to the wall, not across the walkway.
Keeping your home neat and tidy is one of the easiest ways that you can prevent falls, and in case you find the task to be a bit too much for yourself, you can always ask help from a friend or family member. Having someone to help you is important since you may also need to move the furniture that’s in the way or that limits your freedom of movement.
Your bedroom should also be clutter free so that you have a sure path to the bed during the night when you might be sleepy and not paying as much attention to your surroundings. You should also install a nightlight in your room to make getting out of bed during the night more comfortable.
Keep the stairway safe
If you live in a two-story house, keeping items off the stairs is equally essential. The steps should also be even and sturdy, and if some of the steps are loose or uneven, you should immediately fix them, or call someone to do it for you.
Because a stairway can be quite dangerous to seniors, especially during the night, it is mandatory to have it lighted and have switches at both the top and bottom of the stairs. Similarly, the handrails should be secure, and they should run on both sides for the entire length of the stairs.
When climbing or coming down the stairs, you should hold onto the railing at all times, and go slowly. When carrying items on the stairs, you should make sure that the object is not obstructing your view. If you can’t see each step, and the item is heavy, it is best to ask a family member, neighbor or friend to help you with it.
Secure your bathroom and kitchen
The bathroom is a hazardous room for seniors due to the many slippery surfaces that can cause trouble even for younger persons. Thankfully, there are many tips that you can follow to transform this area and make it completely safe without having to spend a fortune.
You can install some quality grab bars for seniors since these safety devices are crucial when getting on and off the toilet, or when stepping in and out of the shower or bathtub without injuring yourself. Similarly, you can also get a bath seat for elderly citizens if you suffer from limited mobility.
The mats you have in the bathroom are also important, and you should be careful when purchasing them. We recommend getting a quality non-slip bath mat for the elderly and to place self-stick strips on the tub floor or on the shower.
The kitchen too can be dangerous due to the many high shelves or cabinets that one needs to reach when preparing a meal. One way to make the kitchen less dangerous is to keep all the often-used items in the lower and easier-to-reach cabinets or shelves. If you do have to use a step stool, you should make sure that it is sturdy enough to hold your weight without slipping.
Get proper clothes
You should avoid getting clothes that are baggy and larger than what you usually wear since these garments can make you more likely to trip and fall. You should instead opt for clothes that fit snugly and are hemmed adequately so that they don’t bunch up or drag on the ground.
While it may seem more comfortable to wear socks while you’re at home, socks present a bigger slipping risk. Doctors recommend that you wear sturdy shoes both inside and outside. You should avoid slippers, socks, or walking barefoot.
For increased comfort, you can consider purchasing senior walking shoes which are explicitly designed to give excellent comfort and improved stability. If for some reason shoes are uncomfortable for you, you can opt for non-slip socks that come with small rubber grips on the soles of the feet.
Exercise and medication
A regular exercise routine is even more important when you are older, as it has many benefits beyond simply burning calories. Exercise can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, while also reducing aches caused by arthritis and age. Strength exercises can help improve balance and build the muscles and bone health needed for your daily activities.
Similarly, small stretching exercises can increase your flexibility and help prevent muscle and joint injuries. You can always consult with your doctor to see which types of exercises are best for you. Even if you might consider yourself not fit to exercise, you will be surprised to learn just how many ways there are to get the blood pumping while enjoying yourself.
You should also read the labels of any new medications that you take. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness or if they are listed as side effects, you should review your medications together with your pharmacist or doctor. Feeling dizzy or tired can make falling much more likely.